James Cooke (1844 - 1879)

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Birthplace: St Luke , Chelsea, Middlesex, England
Death: Died in Helpmekaar, Natal, Natal, South Africa
Cause of death: Dysentery
Occupation: Royal Art.
Managed by: Susan Ann Swartz
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

    • Ellen
      wife
    • James
      son
    • Naomi
      daughter
    • William
      son
    • Helen
      daughter
    • Alfred
      son
    • Catherine
      daughter
    • John
      father
    • Sarah
      mother
    • Eliza Jane
      sister
    • john
      brother

About James Cooke

In my attempt to find his grave I have stumbled on some interesting information relating to QMSS James Cooke.

James Cooke en route from Queenstown (?) to Pietermaritzberg he wrote letters to his wife Nellie . Below are two of them:

This note however is not the date of the article evidently, as his last letter was dated 12 February from fort Napier.a letter of bereavement to Nelle from Frank Cunnuingham as dated 23 march. His death occurred then between 15 February 23 march. FIRST LETTER Camp Gandale? 10 July 1878 My Dearest Nel, I was quite proud to receive your kind and and good letter, and must say you are a good girl to keep up your spirits and make yourself comfortable as I can see by your letter you are trying to do I hope you will beagle to go with the rest of Natal for one reason alone and that is that you would have so much to do by yourself if left behind to go with all the children Indeed I should strongly advise you to send some of. The children if it comes to the worst and you have to stop behind for I cannot see how you are to travel with 6 children so young- and therefore hope you will take my advice.Pay anyone to take them for it will be the best they will torment your life out on such a long journey but I hope all that I have said will be of mo use to you for I hope to hear of your starting all right.take any assistance you can get (???) IF PAY FOR IT OR NOTit do not matter. If you have to stop mind (?) and do not happy (hurry) away after being laid up stop and you will do the best thing for us both, until you are quite strong enough and keep yourself warm- it is of no use being in too much of a hurry for you will be there long before I am I do not think myself we shall git( sic) in until about the 20 th August IF THEN I am glad to see you recolated the 9 th I thouhgt of it soon after leaving you and wondered If I should spend it with you but can safely say now that I shall not it will take us quite a few weeks to get inform we're ( sic) we are now. I am glad to tell you that we re enjoying quite good weather it is rather cold at night but it is much warmer then ( sic ) it has been. I have always made use of my chair my little Nellie and shall always do so as you say for yours and the children's sake I should not like them to want in this bleak country-- and do not expect please God that they will have to for I feel I feel as well as ever I did in my life. I have four blankets and a great coat an (sic) my chair and plenty more should they get wet so for God's sake do not trouble yourself about me but mind your own dear little self and then you will be doing the greatest kindness to me you possible can do.Don't forget my last instruction that is to spare no money  To make yourself comfortable get everything you ?a?ay and you will be doing yourself, me and the children justice pay for a midwife never mind what it costs. The wind which you experienced caught us about week past and we could ot see where we were riding to and it was I believe about the worst wind I have ever faced. The sand almost cut my eyes out and me put up my ? hand to shelter my face and neck but that is all past.We are now experiencing what I have heard of and this boiling and cooking food with cow dung and it burns fast like turf.we have flour and baking powder served (sic) out and you would be quite pleased to see at ??. .? about 100 little fires all around the camp and the fellows baking their little loaves of cow dung they allow the fires to burn outand then cover the dough all over with cinders? And it takes it fire we started this morning at daylight and arrived in camp at about4 o/clock this afternoon but all such long drop? The thing which was talked about is carried ? Out. coffee before we start and about two hours halt haf way for a second dose of coffee biscuits and meat and dinner after we get in. I have managed to get all the accounts closed for last month and all signed but about twelve which I intend getting done the next half day we have. Don't give my money to anyone again . I tell you this for they may say all sorts of things but let them say what they like. I shall send no more money at present to them and perhaps it may be two months before we may meet and you well may want it all.now I may wish you good bye. Be a good dear old soul and do all I tell you. Give the children all they want and above all have everything yourself. You can always address to me as follows QM Serg J Cook. Royal Artillery Col Woods Column On march route to Natal Good night and God bless you all. Your loving husband Jim Cook 26th July 1878 My Dearest Nellie I am first sending you a few lines although Imhave not the least idea if you will get or not as I have had the others returned to me. I got the Major to send a telegram to Kings and found out when you left East London on the 22nd how you got into that beautiful place I do not know but I can only hope better than you did on your last visit there. I hope you have still kept your spirits up as well as you appeared to be doing in your first and last letter, I know you must have had a terrible time of it and only hope you have been able to get over it without knocking yourself up. I am sorry you did not get my letter for I was hoping above all things that you would spare no expense to make yourself as comfortable as possible and the children also. I think it is useless to try to save money when it is required for ones comfort and I hope to goodness you have spared not one farthing which you have spent on yourself or children. I need not tell you that I have been made more anxious if possible than ever I was before in my life for I know the trouble you have had and I hope you will drop me a line the first chance you have to let me know how you are getting on. If you have received my last letter I sent 3 in one you would have o doubt act? Up to my advice as regards to Quarters I would far sooner pay 10/- per week than live in a drum for shall have at least 2 month head office work to clear up on coming in. Give my kind love to all the children. Kiss them all for me I suppose my poor little Lil will forget me but we shall soon get friends again but we arrive in Kokstaat (sic) tomorrow 27 July and I believe we are about 26 miles to do so if we are not stopped shall arrive about the 15th and this is at least a month before I thought at first, fortunately we had no fighting and that has done it. Now my dear old Nell I must come to a close I want to hear how you are getting on and the baby I have not said anything about ,but ave all, I want to know about yourself.I must conclude with the kindest love from your loving husband. James Cook. What about the stores P.s. I will come in a day before the column if possible but do not say anything about it. I want to drop upon them a bit. JC

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James Cooke's Timeline

1844
August 9, 1844
Chelsea, Middlesex, England
1871
July 9, 1871
Age 26
Ipswich, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom
1879
March 16, 1879
Age 34
Helpmekaar, Natal, Natal, South Africa